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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Purdue's Markell Jones lets out a scream as he runs for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown against Minnesota on Saturday in West Lafayette.

Sunday, October 08, 2017 1:00 am

Boilers weather the storm

Outlast pesky Gophers after long storm delay

MICHAEL MAROT | Associated Press

WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue's Markell Jones showed Saturday he's pretty good at dancing in the rain.

The junior faked out a Minnesota defender, darted inside and sprinted 12 yards for the go-ahead score with 1:17 left to help Purdue complete a second-half rally for a 31-17 victory over Minnesota following an 88-minute weather delay.

“That was the play that I should have made before the delay because I had the corner in that same position, but he tackled me and forced us to kick the field goal,” Jones said. “I wasn't going to let him tackle me that time. I don't even know what type of celebration I did. I just kind of went crazy and almost injured myself celebrating.”

The injury-prone Jones managed to stay healthy on one of the oddest days in program history.

Just moments after Jones thought he should have scored and the Boilermakers (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) made a 19-yard field goal to take their first lead since the opening minutes, heavy rain and lightning moved into the area of Ross-Ade Stadium area. Before the skies darkened, the rain began and before either team could line up for the kickoff, the refs sent both teams to their locker rooms with 9:58 left in the fourth quarter.

Once the players and coaches were gone, fans started streaming down the stadium steps and scrambled across the stadium grass and even between the sidelines to find shelter. Some made it before the deluge of rain; many were drenched.

After a discussion between Purdue officials and the refs, the game resumed, though few fans stuck around to watch the shootout or the end of the five-hour marathon.

“Is it Monday night or is still Saturday?” coach Jeff Brohm joked after picking up his first Big Ten win.

Minnesota (3-2, 0-2), which forced four first-half turnovers but only led 14-6, made the most of its second chance. The Gophers took more than 7 minutes off the clock as they drove for Emmit Carpenter's 38-yard field goal and a 17-16 lead with 2:26 to go. It didn't last long.

Four plays after D.J. Knox's 44-yard kickoff return, Jones juked a defender on a right-side sweep and scored for the first time this season. The two-point conversion made it 24-17, and Ja'Whaun Bentley's 76-yard interception return for a TD sealed it.

“We had a plan coming out from the rain delay, but Minnesota kind of messed that up and kicked a field goal,” Brohm said. “It's not always perfect, but I think we have a group of guys who are going to find a way to win.”

Purdue honored former coach Joe Tiller, the school's career wins leader, throughout the game. Tiller died in Wyoming last weekend.

The Boilermakers wore a helmet sticker with headphones, his trademark moustache and the word Joe.